SMUSHies love dessert.






If there is one thing I know about the SMU Service House residents (or SMUSHies, as they are affectionately called), I know that they love service. Another thing I know about SMUSHies is that they love desserts. So, the Aids Services of Dallas No Tie Dinner and Dessert volunteering event was the perfect way to earn House Service Hours for nine  SMUSHies. The Dallas Area Flight Museum hosted the event, and several Dallas-area bakeries brought samples of their desserts for the guests to enjoy. We mingled among the event guests who were participating in a silent auction to benefit the Aids Services of Dallas organization, offering assistance when needed and sampling the desserts. At the end of the event, we broke down the booths and tables with the rest of the volunteers. We spent quality time together, serving Aids Services of Dallas (ASD).

Being a new member of the SMU Service House, I have been spending this semester getting to know the SMUSHies and how the community functions. This event was a wonderful way to come together as a community and to serve the greater Dallas community. I love being a SMUSHie!

Author: Sarah Montonchaikul

Posted in Service, Service House | 3 Comments

Crain All-University Leadership Conference!!!!

Written By: Aliya Prasla

Hello World!

The Crain All-University Leadership Conference was a few weeks ago and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was so much fun getting to know the officers of different organizations around campus and learning how to work with them!

The Crain All-Univesity Leadership Conference is the best leadership conference at SMU. It is open to people who are already leaders and others who want to further develop their leadership skills. Advisors are also welcome to come to learn how to better advise the amazing leaders at SMU! The Crain All-University Leadership Conference is sponsored by LEAD (Leadership, Education, Activities and Development), Student Senate, and The Division of Student Affairs.

We did this wonderful simulation called StarPower! It gave great insight to the world of the one percent.  It was very interesting to see how power and greed affect certain people and leaders.

I left the conference with how to be an effective leader, promote diversity, and I learned how to build excitement about my organization around campus!

Overall, the conference was an absolutely amazing experience and I would not trade it for the entire world! I would recommend that everyone should go to next year’s conference!

Esther Liu and I at the conference

Esther Liu and I at the conference

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Moral Courage Seminar with Rushworth M. Kidder at SMU on March 6th

We are excited to be hosting the Moral Courage Seminar through the Global Institute for Ethics at SMU on Tuesday, March 6th. We look forward to the many great conversations among those attending from throughout the greater Dallas area. See the attachment for more info if you’re interested.

Moral Courage flyer-Dallas

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Urban Plunge: Vickery Meadow Neighborhood

Well 2170 – Volunteer Activities

During my time taking this class all of the students have explored the well-being that comes from serving others, and developing skills and knowledge to increase  individual effectiveness as a volunteer. All of the students have volunteer with a nonprofit community agency and have performed 30 hours of community service over the course of the semester, outside of class time. The class session have provided opportunities for students to report and discuss activities in the out-of-class experience. Students have also submitted weekly journals, and been involved in a group project.

I have enjoyed spending my 30 hours of community service on an Urban Plunge trip over fall break in the Vickery Meadows community here in Dallas. The Vickery  Meadows community is a community five miles north of SMU’s campus. This community is an area where refugees are settled on a regular basis. After spending fall break living in
this community I would have to say that even though I came back exhausted I would have to say that I’m beyond blessed. I know that with my short visit I had only seen the tip of the entire iceberg of the community, but this experience has really shaped my personal concerns for refugees and this community has created a much better image of
how difficult it can be for a refugee.

I highly recommend this class to students that are interested at all in giving back to the Dallas community through service.  Register through Access to take this class next semester and feel free to contact the Community Engagement and Leadership Office (CEL) on the first floor of Hughes-Trigg Suite 200 for more information or visit the CEL webpage,

Author: Ryan Writt

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SMUSH Update

My Experience at the Service House

I’ve been a resident in the Service House for a couple of months now and I absolutely love
it! The Service House is different than any other residence hall I’ve stayed in because it feels like a home. I know all of the residents and have formed some really good friendships.

Living in an environment where service and community engagement are highly valued has helped me to better incorporate these values into my daily life. I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had this semester and the wonderful people that I’ve met.

Author: Essete Workneh

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Updates from Ashley Nguyen

Author: {The Sweet} Ashley Nguyen

Just wanted to write a little update on what’s happening in the SMU Service House. This past week, we had interviews for potential additions to the SMUSH community for the spring semester. I believe we had 10 applications overall and only 3 or so slots to fill. SMUSH residents were able to participate in the interviews by asking the applicants questions, scoring the applicant’s answers to questions, reviewing applicant’s responses to questions from the application, and leaving comments on their overall impression of the
applicant. For the other residents who weren’t able to participate in the interviews, they were able to review each applicant’s responses to the questions on their applications and write comments on a comment sheet next to the applicant’s name. I got to sit in on 5 of the interviews with the applicants and it was a whole new experience for me since I’ve always been on the applicant’s side. All of the applicants that I got to talk to in person seemed
like they would assimilate well into the SMUSH community, which I’m sure made
it harder for the Residential Community Director and the Recruitment Committee to
pick the best applicants of the bunch. E-mails were sent out last Friday to all of the applicants and they should know where they stand. As for the rest of SMUSH, we will probably find out the results during our next house meeting.

Also, before I end this entry, here’s a little bit of promoting for a Volunteer Opportunity that my Wellness 2170 group created:

On Saturday, November 19th, 2011, we will be beautifying the grounds around the Ashby apartment complex from 12pm-3pm. All of the equipment that we will need to complete this project will be provided, so all you as a volunteer would need to bring is yourself, comfortable clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty, and a smile. There will be a cookout after the event as a thank you to all who volunteers their time and effort with
our group! For more information and/or to express your interest, email Ben Franco (, Zia Reeves (, or me (!


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Hunger – Health – Housing – Hope

Good Afternoon, everyone! (And Happy National Sandwich Day!) I’m Ashley Nguyen and I am a sophomore at Southern Methodist University. This semester, I am currently in a volunteer class that requires its students to volunteer with one of four selected agencies from around the Dallas area. I was paired with CitySqaure, formerly Central Dallas Ministries and it has been quite an experience.

CitySquare’s mission is to build genuine community in the neighborhoods where we all live and work. They aim to alleviate the root causes of poverty in the community by working hand in hand with the “neighbors”—they do not have “clients”—to develop sustainable partnerships that provide support and encouragement to all so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

CitySquare was originally founded in 1988 as a small food pantry for the working poor of
the community. Since that time, they have grown into a broad community development organization offering a wide range of social services. Together, their 16 social service programs provide over 70,000 human touches per year to Dallas residents in need and focus on the following four key areas:

  • Hunger: CitySquare’s food pantry distributed nearly two million pounds of food to 12,576 households in 2010, to a Community Summer Food Service program that delivered over 700,000 snacks/meals during the summer and an Afterschool Snack program which provides approximately 2500 snacks a day to at-risk-youth. They have also recently expanded their children nutrition programs to Austin, TX.
  • Health: Medical clinic services, wellness and diabetes education programs that hosted over 10,000 patient visits to low, income, uninsured individuals, filled 4,000 medical prescriptions, and provided 352 neighbors with education to successfully manage their diabetes.
  • Housing: Providing 250 units of affordable housing and 105 units of permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless. An additional 28 units of permanent supportive housing began in December 2010, with full occupany anticipated by the end of March 2011.
  • Hope: Providing a workforce development program focused on pre-employment training and education, short term rental and utility assistance, case management and referral services, a public interest law firm, youth education services,
    athletic programs, technology training and support services for youth  transitioning out of the foster care system.

If you are interested in volunteering and/or want to learn more about CitySquare, visit their website at:

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Hello again everyone!

There is a super exciting opportunity that is going to be taking place at SMU in November! It is the Southwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (SWACURH)! This conference is a place where people from all different states around Texas get together and discuss RHA (Residence Hall Association) and share ideas about different programs that can be implemented in the residence halls. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at this super awesome, amazing conference and it is a great way to learn how you can make SMU better through the residence halls!

The part that I am really pumped for is our philanthropy project! We are working
with which is an organization that sends letters to the military whether they are active, reserve or veterans! “A Million Thanks is a year-round campaign to show our appreciation for our U.S. Military Men and Women, past and present, for
their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country through our letters, emails, cards, and prayers.” The military men and women really appreciate it when they receive letters and will often reply back! The letters that we will be sending out in November will get to the troops right before Christmas and they will have a small piece of home to cherish during the holiday season! If you would like to participate, you can write a letter and send it to:

A Million Thanks

17853 Santiago Blvd. #107-355

Villa Park, CA 92861

For the letters there can be no edible items, loose glitter, confetti or anything that is not attached to the letter or card. Remember to only send positive messages and be creative! The military loves it when you say a little bit about yourself and thank them for their service!

Author: Aliya Prasla

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Service with a Paw!

Author: Anisha Durvasula {SMU Service House}

Community Service. Two words that encompass a world of difference. Yet when most refer to the phrase it is usually targeted towards helping the homeless, tutoring children, or volunteering at a retirement home. Do not get me wrong these are all wonderful opportunities yet I would like to take a moment and advocate for some of my furry friends who are unable to do so for themselves. Unfortunately many of us tend to overlook animals when deciding where to allocate their volunteer time. From my own experience as a volunteer at a local animal shelter for the past six years, I would truly say that they are all really missing out.  There are so many different aspects of a shelter that one can be a part of whether it be during feeding time, cleaning the cages (not fun but I promise the animals are grateful!), administrative work, or my personal favorite, playing time! It is vital for animals to be cared for but most off all it is most important that they are loved. We all have people in our lives, materialistic distractions, and recreational games etc but an animal only has us. We are a combination of people, distractions and games for the animals. I urge all of you to try and take some time out for the animals, even if it just a visit. As for those of us with allergies to animals, we can still help by word of mouth. Just letting people know such opportunities exist, encouraging them to adopt, and even
helping find sponsors for animal shelters and the cause are just as essential. I hope you all consider lending a helpful paw in the future!

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67.5 million

How is it that worldwide 67.5 million children are out of school?

A global lack of education is preventing millions of children from escaping the cycle of extreme poverty. It seems that of the 67.5 million children not receiving primary education, 95% of these are in developing countries.

Did you know that in Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Madagascar, there are in some classrooms as many as 80 students and one trained teacher?

Awareness. It is easy for us to sit in our bubble in Dallas, Texas and not consider education worldwide. If everything is going well in our own lives, we think all is well with the world. We get caught up in our own day-to-day routines. Studying all night for our accounting midterm, making the morning Starbucks run with the kids buckled in the backseat, checking emails bleary-eyed until one in the morning. Whatever we may be involved in, we get stuck there. We lack perspective. And then, when I consider big picture, worldwide issues, I realize how much I have yet to know. The more I learn, the more and more I come to find that I don’t know.

More than half of the children not enrolled in school are girls, but child survival rates actually jump by 40% if girls are educated for approximately five years. Many families who experience extreme poverty fail to see the long- term benefits of schooling their children, but instead see the short -term benefits of the child working outside of the home or performing chores around the house. School fees, testing fees and uniform costs sometimes make schooling not a feasible option for impoverished families.

Fortunately, there is hope. Recently, debt cancellation and relief for some governments has allowed school fees to be abolished. In Africa, 46.5 million children went to school for the first time between 1999 and 2008 due to savings from debt relief, development assistance for education, and prioritization by African governments. This is progress. At the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, donors and developing countries made the goal of Education for All (EFA) and established 2015 as the target date for achieving
Universal Primary Education. But we have a long way to go. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 1.2 million more teachers are still needed to achieve universal primary education by the year 2015.

Education is vital, for the well being of individuals and the vitality of countries.  We know
little. This is only a glimpse. The issue is enormous.

Author: Michelle Craig, AB

Facts retrieved from

Photo source:

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